Monday, October 3, 2022

‘We need to stop them’ Ian Duncan Smith urges Britain to stand up to China’s worrying ‘threat’

The funneling of cash by China into UK universities in recent years has raised concerns about the risks of Beijing’s subtle influence in the UK. In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Duncan Smith warned that China’s influence on British universities is a direct “threat” to the UK.

He warned: “We must stop the way UK universities pour money and their idea is to get technology out of these universities.

“And also knowing that many future establishments will be drawn from these institutions, they are trying to destroy them. It is all part of the game and everything they do revolves around that.

“We need to show forcefully that we are not prepared for their bullshit, their trampling of international rules, their behavior on the WTO, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

“They are a threat to us, both a military and an ideological threat, and we need to deal with it.”

Now, a cross-party group of 20 MPs, including Mr Duncan Smith, have introduced amendments to the government’s new free speech bill to change the rules on Chinese funding in the UK.

The amendment would compel universities to report funding and activities of Confucian institutions, which offer language and cultural programs abroad.

This comes after requests for freedom of information that the vice chancellors of 17 universities have accepted Beijing’s at least £24 million fund to run these institutions, which are funded and monitored through China’s Ministry of Education .

But five of those institutions routinely refuse to disclose their funding.

The China Research Group of Parliamentarians (CRG) suspects that the actual funding amount over the past decade is £28 million.

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This is just one example of where China is pumping money into UK institutions, and has raised questions about whether this is a way for Beijing to spread propaganda and steal information.

It also comes after Mr Duncan Smith called for a review in 2020 to assess the impact of Beijing’s growing economic power in Britain.

And he cautioned that it is not just universities where the impact of Chinese investment is growing.

The Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green said at the time: “What is happening is the amalgamation of Chinese influence in all kinds of areas.

“It is going on in pieces, and it has not been properly co-ordinated. I believe the government will have to pull this together in a strategic review and wonder what the overall impact is on the UK.”

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Since being called for a review, Mr Duncan Smith told Express.co.uk “the government is now responding to this”.

He added: “They were definitely slow in the beginning, but they are getting better.”

The senior backbencher has been able to stand up to China in the past, as he was one of the leading voices who argued against Chinese technology giant Huawei joining Britain’s 5G telecoms network.

The move resulted in a tough stance on the company.

Nation World News Desk
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